China’s internet celebrity chefs are turning into seafood entrepreneurs

Published on
March 15, 2018

China’s internet celebrity chefs have become a favorite channel for encouraging seafood consumption, with the best-known paid to promote products. But a wave of such chefs aren’t just endorsing products; they are now selling their own seafood creations online. 

Several food-focused content-creators on the Weibo microblogging platform, a popular online video host similar to YouTube (which is blocked in China), have achieved massive followings as a growing portion of the Chinese population has acquired smartphones. Their videos, which feature “how-to” guides on shopping, cooking, and eating seafood, have become a go-to source of information for younger Chinese consumers.

One of what’s often referred to as the “post ‘90s” generation of online chefs, Xiang Pen Pen de Xiao Kao Ji, is a Beijing-based chef who posts daily videos of cooking demonstrations to his Weibo channel, which has three million followers. One of his recent videos included green mussels from New Zealand, and others have featured squid and local shellfish. 

Another popular Weibo program that frequently features seafood is the “Magic Cooking TV” channel, which has accrued 2.5 million followers. The Beijing-based program professionally shot cookery demonstrations of maximum five minutes duration.

The online-only show is one of several that has moved into selling its creations. It’s “Magic cuttlefish black dumpling” is now sold on Taobao for CNY 59.80 (USD 9.45, EUR 7.67) for 360 grams. The product is being handled by Qingdao Chuang Ge Co., a processor based in the seafood processing and trading hub of Qingdao, on China’s east coast. 

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